August is my wife’s birth month. We met as students working one summer long-ago in the dining room of a small Jewish hotel in the Catskills, when the Catskills was a prime resort area for Jews from New York City, before travel to Florida became easy. Chinese at a Jewish resort? Soy sauce with your gefilte fish? And so, two songs for her birthday.
(Song—“The Rose” by Amanda McBroom)
sung by Bette Midler and others
Our lives were joined before I knew you, by the bonds of fate unseen.
I could not know when I first saw you, what you would come to mean.
One quiet girl who waited table, working hard beside the guys.
I did not see what stood before me, for I was slow, not very wise.
But when we talked, I heard your stories, of the burdens that you bore,
Lost your mother, then a sister, had to flee a civil war.
Sixteen alone—you sailed from Asia, for a far and foreign place.
Such strength, such courage and persistence, facing life with grit and grace.
September came, it was the season for us to go our separate ways.
But that kiss, you gave at parting, mystifies me still today.
For in that instant you claimed and bound me. This would be no last goodbye.
From that moment I was certain, that we would meet another day.
(Song—“Once Upon A Time” by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams)
sung by Frank Sinatra and others
Once upon a time, when the world was bright and new.
We kissed beside the shore, beneath a starry sky.
But that was once upon a time, when our years were just a few.
Once upon a time, New York was all aglow.
You answered all my dreams, when you said you loved me too.
But that was once upon a time, many Christmases ago.
When we were young, the highway had no end,
We thought that there was something new, waiting ‘round each bend.
There was work to do, a family to raise,
How could we know—that—
Journeys have an end. That the piper wants his fee.
That even love cannot—change our destiny.
But all our once upon a times, live on in memory (x2)